Art. 35 of Legislative Decree 133/2014, converted, with amendments, into Law 164/2014, the so-called “Sblocca Italia” law, aims to develop a suitable, integrated system at national level to manage municipal waste and to meet the separate waste collection and recycling goals.
This objective is also aimed at guaranteeing national safety in terms of self-sufficiency and, as a result, circumventing and preventing additional violations due to failure to comply with European regulations in the sector. One of its key aims is to reduce the disposal of waste in landfills. In this context, the use of waste-to-energy technology, an alternative to landfill disposal, represents a solution to the various sanctions imposed on Italy by the European Court of Justice, the last of which, totalling Euro 42.8 million for every six months of non-compliance, was applied in December 2014 due to the ongoing non-compliance with the European Directive of the authorizations of 198 landfills in Italy.
The Italian Prime Minister’s Decree of 10 August 2016 implements the principles and objectives of art. 35, as it identifies the overall capacity of the treatment plants of waste-to-energy plants at national level, and as a result identifies within macro-areas of Italy the residual requirement to be covered by building waste-to-energy plants.
Thanks to the important investments made in particular by the Hera Group in the last decade, Emilia-Romagna is one of the few Italian regions that does not risk descending into an emergency situation in the next 20 years as regards the recovery and disposal of waste.
In application of the principles and goals defined in art. 35, the Hera Group uses the following hierarchy to identify the priority criteria for the saturation of the capacities of its WTE plants:
- Local municipal waste;
- Regional municipal waste;
- any municipal waste from outside the region according to the resolutions of the relevant bodies;
- Non-hazardous special waste until saturation of residual heat load.
On the basis of these principles our Integrated Environmental Authorizations (IEAs) have updated between the end of 2015 and during 2016 and, at the same time, we have signed framework agreements with Local Authorities involved for the waste-to-energy plants of Forlì, Rimini and Modena. For the waste-to-energy plant of Ferrara, in the context of these updates, we were granted authorization to increase the amount of waste to be treated up to 142,000 tonnes/year to cope with possible emergencies outside the region for urban solid waste, subject to specific requests from the relevant authorities. In December 2015 the local authorities in Forlì and the Region signed a specific agreement for the management of municipal waste in the Forlì waste-to-energy plant to which municipal waste is sent only from the regional catchment area in respect of the planning being approved.
In 2017, no solid urban waste from other regions was treated in the above waste-to-energy plants.